Energy & Resources Talking Points 30-06-2016


In today’s Talking Points: India’s application to join Nuclear Suppliers Group suffers setback as China weighs in; US tariffs on Chinese made solar systems see local solar power market soars to new heights; Morgan Stanley raises iron ore price forecasts, expects Chinese steel demand to be supported through 2017; and idle Chinese wind turbines highlight the challenges faced by energy grids as global renewable capacity grows.

India’s application to join Nuclear Suppliers Group suffers setback

India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has stalled, after China urged that India must sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to become a member. Signing the NPT is a key requirement for all Nuclear Suppliers Group members. Wang Qun, Head of the arms control department in China’s foreign ministry said applicant countries must be signatories of the NPT. “This is a pillar, not something that China set. It is universally recognized by the international community,” he said. India needed a unanimous vote from the 48-member group to secure membership. Despite US endorsement earlier this month and encouragement of other member states to look favorably on Indian membership, China has taken the stance that the rules on being an NPT signatory should not be bent. Observers suggest that India’s failure to secure a seat in the NSG will be regarded as a setback to Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy.

Read more at BBC News

US solar power market soars to new heights

US solar power markets are now in their most prosperous decade with the US solar industry expected to install 14.5 gigawatts of solar power in 2016, a 94 percent increase over the record 7.5 gigawatts in 2014, according to GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association. Installation revenue also increased by 21 percent from 2014 to 2015 by more than $22 billion. In 2015, more solar systems came online than natural gas power plants (the top source of electricity in the US). According to the US Energy Information Administration, new solar is expected to surpass all other sources of energy installations in 2016. The rise of solar energy use is largely due to a federal tax credit, renewed last December, which enables businesses and homeowners to take off 30 percent of the price of their solar energy systems from their income taxes. Installation and production costs have also significantly reduced in recent years. US government tariffs on Chinese made solar panels have also assisted US solar companies and boosted manufacturing jobs in the US.

Read more at The Guardian

Morgan Stanley raises iron ore outlook on Chinese steel demand

Morgan Stanley have boosted their iron ore outlook after prices rallied during the first six months of 2016, indicating they expect Chinese steel demand will continue to be supported. The 2016 forecast was increased 17 percent to $US46 a tonne and the outlook for next year was raised 13 percent to $US42 a tonne. China’s announcement of new stimulus measures earlier this year helped iron ore make a stuttering recovery after falling below US$42 a tonne in January from heights exceeding US$180 a tonne in 2011. Morgan Stanley said they expect China to continue to support steel demand as part of the countries ongoing stimulus efforts, and that iron ore producers will responsibly manage the introduction of new supply.

Read more at the Australian Financial Review

China’s idle wind turbines highlight challenge of renewable energy

China’s rapid expansion of its wind energy capacity has highlighted what may soon become a challenge for power grid operators globally – what do you do when supply outstrips demand? China’s massive investment in clean energy has made it a world leader in wind, with almost one in every three wind turbines globally located in China. But China’s growth in wind power has outstripped the ability of energy regulators and power grid authorities to adapt. The result – turbines are idled so quotas for coal fired power generation are maintained. While coal quotas may be particular to the Chinese energy market, the issue raises a major question about how power grids will handle the increasing contribution of renewables like wind in the future.

Read more at Bloomberg